In the absence of a trade mark law in Myanmar, trade mark owners have sought protection of their rights through the registration of Declarations of Ownership with the Ministry of Deeds, and the publication of Cautionary Notices in local newspapers, in order to alert the public of their rights to a trade mark. Although Myanmar has no trade mark law, it has been possible for proprietors of trade marks to take action against counterfeiters for passing off, under common law.


On 30th January 2019, a new trade mark law was passed by the Myanmar Parliament. It will enter into force after an Intellectual Property Office is established, and whilst this may take some time, we expect the new Intellectual Property Office to be open for business, and for the new law to be in force, by the end of 2019.


With the introduction the new law, Myanmar will change from a common law system, where trade mark rights are accrued through use, to a civil law jurisdiction in which trade mark rights are granted to the first to file. Therefore, it is vital that proprietors who wish to protect their trade marks in Myanmar should arrange for applications to be filed at the new IPO on the day the IPO opens for business, even though it is not currently known when this will be. Trade mark proprietors who have sought to protect their trade marks in Myanmar by filing Declarations of Ownership should include copies of registered Declarations with new applications, as it is thought that this will give their applications priority over others in the course of examination.


The fees for filing under the new law will not be published until the IPO has been established, and Regulations have been published. We will advise on the estimated costs, and the documentary requirements, as soon as they are known.


We recommend that clients wishing to protect their trade marks in Myanmar should send their instructions to us now, so that we may prepare applications to be filed the moment it is possible to do so.


New Industrial Designs, Patent and Copyright laws have also recently been enacted, but again, the effective date of these yet is yet to be determined.  We will post further details of these laws once we have ascertained the same.